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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Be Prepared, part 2*

Thursday, May 9, 2013 will be a day I remember for better or for worse.  No, it's not my wedding anniversary.  It's the day I decided to act on one of the biggest imponderables in my life--whether or not to continue in a leadership position in the Boy Scouts of America.

I started in Cub Scouts in the late 1960's, and continued through Boy Scouts in the mid-1970's, when girls and sports captured my attention.  My son is one merit badge and his Project away from making Eagle.  He'd be the first on my side of the family and the fourth on my wife's side.

I'll put off writing the rest until after the vote tomorrow. You know which vote.

UPDATE: Gay Scouts are in, Gay Leaders still out.  Vote split 60-40 in favor of the resolution. I still contend it was a dumb proposal, and that we'll be going through this again in less than three years and allow gay leaders.

*--Tom Lehrer, Songs by Tom Lehrer, 1963.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How can I keep from singing?*

Just some quick catch-up, post-final project, from last weekend:  We had 54 eighth graders become fully-confirmed members of the church at Noon Mass.  Church was full--Christmas/Easter full--of families with young children.  Many, MANY Hispanic families.  I was amused to see a dad and mom seated a couple rows in front of Sarah and I with four young boys and a daughter--who I assume had a child being confirmed.  The girl was an infant, and the boys were, well, being boys--gloriously wiggly, squirmy, full of mischief. I LOVED it.

Not only that, but--
There was an opening prayer in Spanish.
There was a hymn printed in the program (and sung!) in Spanish.
They're having Masses (for holy days of obligation) in Spanish.

I am grateful to have lived so long as to see this happen--and I am equally ashamed of the members of this parish that it took this long.  I fought with the clergy on this since we moved here.  The very well-ensconced didn't see the need (some still don't) There's a lot of stubbornness, hardness of heart, on this--but it could be that that's starting to change.

I have to believe God was pleased by what he saw at St. Francis of Assisi parish this weekend.

Indeed--how CAN I keep from singing?

Hallelujah!

*--Robert Lowry and Pauline T. (surname not known), 8/7/1868.

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Back Pages*, chapter 2

In a recent e-mail I wrote to Dr. Steven Wolfinbarger, Western Michigan University's Professor of Trombone and a former teacher, I told him that it was apparent that I'd entered the "elder statesman" era of my musical career, as I felt I was being valued more for advice given than for notes played. In truth I'd known this day was coming for a while.  With everything I'd been doing in library school--one more chapter to read, one more article to review, one more paper or project to complete--and everything the kids have been doing, and trying to spend more time with my wife, not to mention take care of my physical/medical needs, it's a wonder I was able to play gigs as long as I have.

But back to the advice part.  The conductor of one of the orchestras with which I play asked for "a word" during break.  I listen as he starts talking about concertos.  Could it be? Am I finally going to get my turn? About 30 seconds in it becomes apparent that he's not talking about me, but rather the orchestra's annual young artist's competition.

Sigh.

So the upshot is that he's tired of the same old, same old (piano/violin/cello tend to dominate these things for a variety of reasons) and wants to change things up (and quite a bit). His idea is to have one division for "the usuals" and one for older students with brass and percussion alternating years with woodwinds, starting with brass in 2014. I told him I liked the idea, and when he asked for suggestions on required pieces for the competition, I jumped right in. After consulting with Dr. Wolfinbarger and others, and a double-check of the Texas UIL Prescribed Music List, I came up with the following list:

Tenor Trombone or Euphonium--
David--Concertino, Op. 4
Gregson--Concerto (beginning to rehearsal 17 or rehearsal 12 to the end)
Grondahl--Concert (two movements)
Guilmant--Morceau Symphonique
Larsson--Concertino Op. 45 #7 (two movements)

Bass Trombone or Tuba--
Gregson--Concerto (two movements)
Lebedev--Concerto #1 (a/k/a Concerto in One Movement)
Vaughan Williams--Concerto for Bass Tuba (first movement only)

Any brass players out there who know the literature as played by high schoolers and would like to comment, please do.

I don't think I'm going to mind being an "elder statesman".  Maybe it's my turn now. Cheers.

*--Bob Dylan, Another Side of Bob Dylan, 1964 (Columbia)